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Sometime in October 1726, Mary Toft, the illiterate wife of a poor journeyman cloth-worker, gave birth, in Godalming, Surrey, to her first rabbit. She went on to deliver sixteen more. Within a month, her story was in London, and within another, she herself was too, lodged in a bagnio in Leicester Fields, her room crowded with spectators. “All the eminent physicians, Surgeons, and Man-midwifes in London are there Day & Night to watch her next production,” Lord Hervey wrote. Her case became a sensation. It was all a hoax, of course, and by early December, threatened by several skeptical doctors and a menacing justice of the peace, she confessed.

Instrumental in pressing Mary Toft to confess was Dr. James Douglas, one of the most respected anatomists in England and one of its best-known midwives, and Justice of the Peace Thomas Clarges. On the morning of 7 December, she admitted to them that she had taken part in a hoax but claimed that the real perpetrator was a mysterious stranger she had met accidentally and could not identify. Unconvinced, they pressured her into a second confession the next day; this time, she acknowledged that her mother-in-law was responsible for the fraud, but other details in her new story were not entirely credible, and several days later (with Mary Toft now in Bridewell) they elicited from her a third confession.

Almost thirty years ago, when I was working with the papers of James Douglas held in the University of Glasgow Library, I came across the three Toft confessions. I made a transcript of them, but I lost it when I made a series of moves. Recently, cleaning out a closet, I found it and, with the permission of University of Glasgow Library, I am posting it here. Photos of Douglas’s original manuscripts can be found on line:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/uofglibrary/sets/72157631751522610/  I believe it is worthwhile to make this transcript publicly available because Douglas’s handwriting is very difficult to read (if I remember correctly, it took me many days to decipher these documents).

Details of the Mary Toft affair can be found in Chapter 1 of my Imagining Monsters: Miscreations of the Self in Eighteenth-Century England (University of Chicago Press, 1995); S. A. Seligman, “Mary Toft—The Rabbit Breeder,” Medical History 5 (1961), 346-60; and Jan Bondeson, A Cabinet of Medical Curiosities (Taurus, 1997). A good on-line summary of the case is Niki Russell’s “Mary Toft and Her Extraordinary Delivery of Rabbits”: https://publicdomainreview.org/2013/03/20/mary-toft-and-her-extraodinary-delivery-of-rabbits.

I welcome any comments or corrections.

Dennis Todd, Professor, Georgetown University

toddd@georgetown.edu

THE THREE CONFESSIONS OF MARY TOFT

Three confessions of Mary Toft were taken down by Dr. James Douglas on 7, 8, and 12 December 1726. Upon his death, they (along with a sizable body of other manuscripts and printed material relating to the Mary Toft incident) came into the hands of Douglas’s friend and pupil, William Hunter. They were part of Hunter’s original bequest to the University of Glasgow, where they now are held as part of the Douglas Papers. The confessions for 7, 8, and 12 December have the classmarks D324, D327, and D328 respectively. In addition, there exists a fair copy of most of the first confession (D325).

Douglas wrote down the confessions in obvious haste. At times his handwriting is illegible and his grammar garbled. Often he drops or repeats words, and often he abandons one grammatical structure mid-sentence and changes to a new one. Still, the confessions can be followed fairly easily if two points are kept in mind. First, Douglas shifts, often in the middle of a sentence, from recording Mary Toft’s words to writing a third-person narrative of his own. Secondly, he sometimes breaks off recording Mary Toft’s account of one incident when either he or Clarges presses her for more information; although we get more detail, the narrative sequence becomes tangled.

As one would expect in a document of this nature, there are a number of deletions: usually these are words or phrases, though occasionally several lines or an entire paragraph are drawn through with diagonal bars. Many of these deletions seem inconsequential, but any that appear to me to be at all significant I retain and place within angle brackets. My own expansions of Douglas’s abbreviations are inserted within square brackets; doubtful readings I have placed within square brackets followed by a question mark. When Douglas’s handwriting has completely defeated me, I have so indicated by placing a single question mark within square brackets. I have not reproduced here the fair copy of the first confession, but I do quote from it several times in footnotes when it helps explain unclear passages in the first confession, when it adds significant, new information, or when it illuminates something about the men who pressed Mary Toft to confess.

The First Confession

Decb’ 7 1726 

I will not goe on any longer thus   I shall sooner hang myself.[1] 

I was delivered of a true monstrous birth. Something came away with a flooding after I had seen some rabbits which I longed for. Guts came away first.

The same day the waters came as in your other labours. Then a Substance as big as my arm came away   the upper p[ar]t of it was like a Gutt and the other end round as her fist. My mother opened it and the inside like a an an afterbirth.

The flooding continued afterw[ar]ds above a week   three weeks after the 1. flooding I was took again with a flood[in]g in the hope garden g[reat] pains all that day. and they that were with me workt their dinner hours that I might goe sooner otherw[ise] I had lost a penny for they workt for me.

As soon as I could get out of the garden another substance came away as I was sitting upon my knees which without observing I was forced to throw away.

I was two hours after that before I got home   Tho[ugh] it was not above a q[ua]rter of a mile I was in so great pain.

This flooding continued another 14. Stopt 3 days and returned two days after as I was going by the Marked houss. I was took here with such a pain that I was forced to goe into a shope till it was over. and then I went home and desired my husband to send for his mother who was a midwife for I was very bad. When I was in the houss a a great pain came on me. I desired the pot which our neighbour Mary Gill gave me. and with a great forcing pain the guts and the liver came into it which she took up and showed it to my mother Tofts who showed it to all the women who were not able to make any thing of it but immediately putting it up into a handle pot they sent it Mr Howard at Gui[ld]ford who would not believe that it came from any woman but that they had a mind to impose upon him.

The next day he came to see her, sending a bottle of Stuff for to take presently which I did which threw me into more pain than I had before but before he came my mother delivered me of the trunk of the body and some other pieces which you cannot tell the names of.

in pain all night

he came in the morning and examining found nothing, but if he had been there when the trunk came he could have brought away what he thought was behind.

after he had stayed a few hours and finding nothing he went away.   I was in pain all the time.

Next day he came back and took some thing away which he could never have believed if he had not done it himselfe. in some hours after he brought more pieces away for he stayed with me most of the day. after he was gone my mother brought severall more pieces away that appeared dry and smelt strong as they said.

he took some of the feet and the mother took others and even the neighbours when she was out of the way tooke some away.

For one 14 night after Mr Howard came away something still coming I pain in pain all that time[2] and not able to goe cross the chamber. Two dayes after the 14 n[ight] was out one foot came away with a great pain.

4 [   ?        ][3] My mother felt something in reach and said that every pain would bring it forward about ten at night Mr Howard was sent for because my Mother was not able to bring it away. but in the mean time pains growing stronger she took the under Jaw away.

Mr H[oward] came about 4. next morning who took away both sides of the cheek and the skull. he saw there was nothing more to come away but the neck after he had looked all the pieces carefully over all the things he put up in Spirits and left them with me.

The next day after a woman whom I dont know if I was to be put to death who had come down to fetch my brother who did live with me but was not then at home to enquire if he could not turn a grindstone for she would give him 3 pence for one hour for she was told at her lodgings that he would do such a thing

John Denyer

My B[rother’s] name

I told her where she might find him but missing of him she came back to me and then I was in great pain. She asked if I was in labour or what else was the matter with me and I told her all that had happened and desired her to see all that was come away from me.*

*a woman whose husband is a knife and Sheers grinder and travell about the country.

but she said she must have some of the money.

She had brought me several Rab[bit]s before I could give her any money. I gave her halfe a crown once at Godliman and 2. half crowns at Guil[d]ford

Enquire for this woman at John Underwood a shoemaker in Godliman. This was the man who turned round the stone for her and that sent her to her brother for to do the same thing.[4]

When she had seen all she said I need not be affrayed for she could tell me what I could do to get so good a living that I should never want as long as I lived    I asked what that was and she told me that she would get a rabbit. I asked what I was to doe with it. and she told me that I should put it up into my body. I told her that such a thing could not be done. She sayd it could and desired to try

She fetch a rabbit which was a little bigger than a sidling rab[bit] of a 14. n[ight] old. She stript it wholly and tryed to put it up whole which I told her I was not able to bear it, it was like to kill me and that I would not do it. Then she pulled out again and said she would cut it. She cut it with her Scissors and screwed the bones round having cut it in two pieces only. Then she first put up one part and upon examining again found it would hold the other part also which she like wayes put and desired her to keep it as long as I could and then sent for Mr Howard   it put me to so great pain that I could I could not [wagg?] one way nor other nor stand up

I sent the same day to Mr H[oward] who came and took all away first the two pieces and then the skin which had been thrust up first. he said he never had seen any such thing before in his whole life.

he put them into Spirits and lef[t] them with me and sent me something to make me sleep.

the next day she would have put up another    I told her I could not possibly bear it     She said I must put up as many as a rabbit has or else the folks would mistrust. I aske how many that was and she said some had ten and some had 13. She said I must goe through it now I had begun besides I was affrayed that Mr Howard would find it out and then I should be ruined.

The next she said would not put me to so much pain because she would cut it into several pieces which I was to put up my selfe at severall times when no body was to see me.

She brought me the second that very day broke into several pieces and desired me to put up one foot at a time and then it would never be mistrusted, and people would think they would come away in that manner

Some she brought in a pocket handk[erchief]  and some in a hogs bladder which I commonly burnt but sometimes being in a great hurry and affrayed of being catcht I dont know but I might have put up some of the Bladders at some time or other.

I used alwayes my selfe to put up but one piece at a time and whenever that was brought away when I had time again and thought no body would see then I slipped up another.

She advised me alwayes to put up all the skins which as far as I remember I alwayes did.

I sent for Mr Howard who tooke away one piece and according as I would find opportunity I put up another piece and feigning great pains Mr Howard came and brought it away.

I used to keep the pieces of Rabbits that the woman brought me in my pockets being for the most p[ar]t drest when any thing was to be brought away.

 St Andre

 took away some thing the very first time he toutched me when I had a great pa[in]. I had occasion to put another tho[ugh] with difficulty for Mr St Andre desired me to unlace my stayes and bid me stand up which made affrayed because of [  ?  ] that he would see it for I had pieces there and so she thought she should be found out.[5]

He then brought

the fore p[ar]t of a rabbit and then went with Mr H[oward] to the white hart as she supposes to drink in which time she put up the head and skin of another rab[bit] and about 2. hours after they sent for him again

  At his return upon a very slight examination before I had a great pain he could not bring away any thing but when the pains came he brought away the skin rolled up and continued before me till I had another pain that he brought away the head. [6]

Mr. Howard delivered me of more Rabbits before Mr Ahlers came down, but I cannot be positive as to the Number of them

<Mr. A[h] lers                 *Mr Alh[ers] promised to get me a pension>

When Mr H[oward] brought Mr Alhers I had actually two pieces in my body     he delivered me the loins and < hind > some others parts, which she cannot very well remember, and Mr Howard of the other piece before him who had put me into a violent deal of pain [7]

When Mr St Andre came down to see me the second time with two Gentlemen along with him Mr Howard brought away a piece of a skin and I told Mr How[ar]d that I had pains that < last > night like the t[e]aring of brown paper. At this time she had her Menses upon her that occasioned it to be bloody. One was brought away over night and the other as above.

Monday     27     Sir R[ichard] M[anningham]      (with Mr. St. Andre)

When S[i]r R[ichard] came in the morning he only examined me the 1 time and found nothing in the passage. but returning about 4 with Mr Howard in the afternoon and likewise found nothing.

 She owns she had nothing in her passage both times S[i]r R[ichard] M[anningham] examined her. after that she put up a piece of bladder which Mr Howard visiting her sometime after took away. This night I was taken with violent pains                Mr H[oward] being sent to brought S[i]r R[ichard] along with him who took away another piece of bladder which I had put up after Mr H[oward] left me.

[Somehow before?] Mr St Andre came up to see me in the next morning and desired me to come up to London    Mr Howard also desired me to goe for to Satisfye the world and then says he I shall be beli[e]ved– but promised me no reward           only Mr St And[ré] sayd he would take care of me  I was very unwilling to goe for fear I should be found out even though the woman promised me that she would supply me with rabbits in London as she had done here.[8]

London    The woman told me before I came up I should not put up any Rabbits for some time other ways I should not get so much money

Thursday last she came to see me but left no Rabbits coming only to aske me how I did.

She visited me last Sunday and brought 2. rabbits with her and would fain have had me make use of them and would have forced them into her pocket nay she put one into my pockett which I pulled out and throwed it away for I said I was affrayed I should be found out. No body knew of this but my selfe for my sister was in the next room dressing her head. She supposes that this woman took halfe a guinea and halfe a crown out of her pockett at the time she put the Rabb[it] in. There was so great a bussle about the rabbit. that she only intended to eate

She protests and declares that Mr How[ard] that he never knew any thing about putting up these rabbits and that she was always affrayed of his finding it out.

She affirms that she did not send for the Rabbit with any other view but to eate it: and she sent it away again for fear of being discovered. Mr. Howard knew nothing of this Rabbit being sent for nor of its being sent back.

I told my sister of my having sent for a rabbit and I desire[d] her to give it to the porter to be carryed away which my sister did saying she would not have it known for 1000 p[oun]d[s].

She clears her mother in law, her husband, her sister and every body that woman [but?] that woman from knowing any thing about this cheat which she is heartily sorry for.

I asked her if her fits were real or counterfate   She answ[ered] she had been subject to fits all her life to a greater degree.

 

The Second Confession 

Deb’   8 .

Being very ill of a flooding sent for a mother law to examine her

about a q[ua]rter of an h[ou]r after she called for the pot into which a liver and Gutts came away.

when my [Mother?] toutched me My body was so open as if a child had just come away. then I was toutched again but brought nothing away at that time only put her to g[rea]t pain and I felt a pain like a pricking of bones within me which continued for an hour or more after which my Mother brought away some part of a monstre which she said was the trunk of the body. but she had still pains that continued with a a great forcing down that I could scarcely bear it.

About one hour or more after she brought away which I think they said was part of the leg or thigh   Soon after she brought away some pieces of flesh with[ou]t any bone. uneasie all night with[ou]t rest. My Mother stayed all n[ight]. Mr How[ard] came in the morning to whom my M[other] showed all that had come away to him and talked a great while with him in another chamber. they both came back into the room tog[ether]. Mr H[oward] asked if I was willing to have the rest taken away. he examined and found nothing     every thing was contracted.

Only grinding pains before her moth[er) toutched her again who presently brought away another piece of flesh which Mr Howard was surprised at   upon that he exam[ine]d but found nothing. Stayed all that day but went away at night.

She toutched me, flood[in]g all the while

 After he was gone I was in pain but said there was nothing. After that I was in pain all night with prickings like that bones within me.

in the n[ight] time she brought away little pieces of flesh.

in the morn[ing]  Mr H[oward] came to see   then a great pain and flood[in]g and this time he took away a piece of flesh and said there was no more saying he was better convinced than he was before now he had done it selfe

talking about the monstre one said it was a rabbit and the other said it was a cate.

after he had brought it [a]way the same prickings continued returned that he said he could not tell how that could do for all was contracted and nothing within which [ ?      ] that she thought would run thro’ her belly. All these pains began when he had brought away the flesh. She thought he had left something behind because of the pricking of the bones and she told him so.

Soon after he went home my M[other] brought away a foot with the skin all of with claws on. When ever he came they alwayes talked tog[ether] in a the room where she showed all that come away.

When the foot was taken away I was pure and easie but when they took away the trunk I was greatly in pain afterw[ar]ds.

before Mr H[oward] came back my M[otherl took away severall pieces of flesh sometimes little some [large?] my mother told me that there were bones that certainly belonged to the flesh and must come away afterw[ar]ds, and then after some little pains she w[oul]d take away bones

Severall times she used to have more pain after she toutched than when she took something away. She alw[ays] put her hand up as far as ever she c[ou]ld and br[ou]ght away rabb[its]. I observed that the kidn[ey] and some of other pieces were found to drop from me when I rise. When I rose in my cloaths they dropt from me on the floor but I am sure they did not come from me.

My M[other] was very seldome from me.

it was three weeks before all the monstre came away.

All night before the head came away only grinding pains. but in the morning my M[other] upon examining put me to so much pain that I thought some thing would run through me.* She said she felt something but it was not ready to come away but she could it not reach it so much as to be able to bring it away.

*that she had not been sensible of before she toutched her. and when ever she said, upon exam[in]ing, a bone was to come away, that I felt a great pricking but she said it was the bone coming away only.

She took the lower Jaw at twice being parted in two pieces which she called the cheeks.

Mr How[ard] tooke away the upper J[aw] which he said layed cross which occationed the difficulty in coming away

they would sometimes say there was nothing in the passage tho[ugh] I was in but sometimes after the pains continuing they w[oul] d bring some bone away

When all the monstre*

 I am  < so much> now ashamed to tell you the truth after I have told somany lyes

I miss nothing but one of the foot. has not your mother got it. I think you have not got them all     She saying she had not he examined and brought away the foot him s[elf]*

*My sister Margaret came up into the room and then Mr Howard examined again to see if there was any thing behind     and he said there was nothing. I said I believed there was because I was not so easie as before he toutched me but much in pain      he presently examined me and brought away the ribs of a fresh rabbit and said there was some thing fresh acoming. I still had a had a pressing down and soon after as I was awalking in the chamber the Gutts and the liver fell down upon the floor yet my pains continued.

Severall pieces of rabbit and skin have dropt from me when I was awalking

Mr How[ard] came ab[ou]t one h[ou]r after the Guts came away and he took away some large piece of a rabbit.

N.B.: it seems they come & put up one piece after they they had taken away another.

There was no such thing as a [woman?] advising me to any such thing nor never brought me any rabbits.

When they had brought one piece away they come & brought away another after they had asked me if I was in pa[in]

I used to aske when this would have an end     sure it would kill me.

Mr H[owar]d aske me ab[ou]t the story of my longing for the Rabbits

he talked to my M[other] and said he would have me to guild[ford] because of the loss of business. My M[other] was willing I should and came sometimes only to see me. I was likew[ise] willing because I thought my selfe in a very desperate condition in hopes of releife.

he took a room for me and hired a nurse for me

The first night I came to Guil[d]f[or]d he took away a rabbitt in pieces he toutched me severall times and put me to pain before he brought any thing away.

Next day at night he brought away another

Some of the Neighb[ours] were hard of beleive and said they could not be convinced till they tooke them away themselfes. he said when a pain or two more should come they should take it away and then

Mr H[owar]d asked if I found any pressing thing coming down   I said yes. then he desired Mrs Mebbin a gentle w[oman] to toutch me and she took away a foot.* They said they were brought from under the bed and so would not beleive

*and soon afterw[ards] another foot.

he visited me very often and freq[uently] brought away something but I was alwayes as much in pain when he put up his hand as when he brought some thing away

When I rested two or three dayes and no rabbit was acoming then I was pretty easie

She protests she knew of nothing being put up her body but that they came from her she was but too sensible*

[9]*She is of opinion that if the Rabbits did not breed in her that her Mother in Law and Mr Howard must have put them up for nobody else came near her.

They alwayes told me that they bred there   I thought they would never have done breeding.

She is of opinion as the Rabbits did not breed in her tho[ugh] her Mother in Law Mr Howard told her they did that none but they could put them up and as she has not had any more Rabbitts since Mr Howard has left her nor any pains like unto those she had during the time her Mother in law & the said Mr Howard were about these are the reasons why she does not think any body else knew any of the matter

Mr Howard took some parts of a Rabbit from her on the same morning Mr. St Andre saw her, before Mr St Andre came to her.

Mr St Andre brought some thing away the first time he toutched me   I think it was the hind p[ar]t as I remember

Mr Howard toutched me before St Andre came again to me and said there was nothing in the passage     he went away and back again at night with Mr St Andre and then I was in desperate pain and upon toutching he took away the skin and staying by me he said there was something still acoming which he thought to be the head but before he brought it away, Mr Mollineux toutched her at his own request and said he felt it, but remembers nothing of the squeezing of his finger, and then he brought it away

before Mr Alhers came down he brought away several.

Mr How[ard] had toutched me just before Mr Alhers came and aske if I felt any thing or if any thing moved. I said yes and then Mr Alhers toutched me and said there was something but instead of taking it away he punched it further on Mr H[owar]d saying why dont you take it away. he answered she must have another pain first and when I had a pain he took it away.

I beged Mr How[ar]d to sit down down and bring away the rest because that gentl[e]man had put me to a a great deal of pain.

The next   < day>   time Mr St Andre came down Mr H[oward] to[o]ke away the skin in the morning and shewed it to him.

Some hours after Sir Rich[ard Manningham] had toutched and found nothing, Mr H[owar]d toutched me and brought away a bit of skin and then went back to S[i]r R[ichar]d but I being then very uneasie I sent for Mr H[owar]d who brought with him S[i]r R[ichar]d who upon examining found a piece of bladder since which he took away.

 

The Third Confession 

Deb’ 12 1726.

 Who first put you upon it or who first contrived? Ann Tofts My husbands mother

 The flood[in]g true. the thing like a burden true. a 14 n[ight] after that came still flood[in]g     mised one week then took again w[i]t[h] a flood[in]g in the hop garden then my mother came to me

I was very unwilling to tell the truth because it light upon her: when I have told the Tr[uth] God knows if ever I shall be the [clearer?] for it

She told me how to strip a young chit or cat   she persuaded me to throw the head and skin away and told me that the gutts and liver I should save and call for the pot and let it fall in the pot, being in g[rea]t pain  and sent a woman Mary Gill   [     ?     ] [  ?     ] that she might hear it fall into the pot who carryed it to my Mother who showed it to every body about and seemed greatly surprised and desired it should be sent to Mr H[oward] and having borrowed a handlepot My husb[an]d carryed it. who said he never could beleive that ever it came from any woman   Somebody has put a trick upon you       it never came from your wyfe. he opened the guts and found in them the back bone of an Eel which belonged to some Eels that I had eate the Sunday before, this being [tuesday?]  he sent me a bottle of Stuff which I took but before I tooke it my mother had put up the body of the chit which put me to a g[rea]t deal of pain     She prese[n]tly took it away I having had it ab[ou]t halfe a h[our]

She told me that if I would do it and goe thro’ I should get a good living and be ruled by her and not tell of her.

She took away some of the limbs too that had not been put up b[ecause] I could not bear them

Mr H[owar]d came in the morn[in]g and would not beleive my M[other] had not the women sayed the same thing that she took very ill

he examined me and found nothing every part being contracted with in her and could never beleive it if he did not take it away hims[elf] .

She tooke away a piece of flesh had never been in my body and showed it

I was [loath?] he should toutch me for it was a false thing   he stayed all that day.

The next day he came and examined but found nothing. but while he went out she put up a piece of flesh of the cat that there was something she felt it fall down

Which he took away. but not from the womb but the pain had br[ou]g[h]t it up was angry for his not beleiving her.

After that brought severall pieces hers[elf] because it was dry   only to blind   Mr H[owar]d would not beleive it true because it had no head.

 When I was alone she would aske me what shall we do for that   so she ordered me to get a rabbit (which my husb[an]d got for me) boiled to eate

she ord[ered] me to keep the bones of the head and one foot, because one of the cats was lost, I threw away some of the bones   the rest I gave to her

Two dayes after she put up the under J[aw] that was like to tear me to pieces it was so jagged. then forced her to take out again

the.

After she was gone home it put me to so much pain that one of the Neighb[ors] was forced to take it out again, Betty Richardson, a silk sto[c]k[in] g [ ?

My M[other] said she was glade that it was taken away and then put up the skull and the two cheeks tog[ether] which threw me into violent flood[in]gs. the Neighb[ors] advised me to Mr H[owar]d.

(I was all n[ight] in a most violent Rack and torture.)

who came ab[ou]t 5 in the m[orning]. I said I was ready to be tore to pieces    the bone are ready to come through me

he obs[erved] one w[i]t[h]in my body   he told me it seemed to be the cheek of a rabbit  the[n] he tooke away the other cheek and the head of a rabbit which he said it was

an hour after he went away she came back and put up the foot of a rabbit with the bit of a neck bone. these I keep within me 4 or 5 d[ays] which had swelled me very much. then he came and tooke away the foot which made a monstre

before this some time the neck bone was taken away but not the foot tho it was there

The skin was cut in three pieces, that she put up at different times. She tooke one away hers[elf]   one of the Neighb[ors] Mrs Richards[on] tooke aw[ay] another and the third she took away but was not put up quite

when he came I showed him the skin and carryed it away

 because I did not get money enough she said I must goe farther and she would get you Rabbits to eate

Mr How[ar]d desired me to eate Rabbits if I longed for them.

I got the Rabbit, striped it and cut it in pieces. the liver and guts were never put in to the body.

She put up some of the Ribbs and Mr H[owar]d tooke them away

While he was gone she w[oul]d put up a piece and he w[oul]d come and take it [a]way for a g[rea]t many pains had brought it down

When I went to Guil[d]ford she advised me to carry two Rabbits with me in my pockets ready cut and there I was to put up a piece as I had time

When done Mr H[owar]d tooke it away   when one was taken out I slipt up another having my cloaths on for the sake of my pockets.

My feigned pains were to bring it down Now he beleived it to be true.

One Mebbin tooke away a foot   then she thought it had been true.

he w[oul]d aske me if I felt any thing move.

if he did mistrust that it was a trick he never said any thing to me about it.

My husb[an]d brought other Rab[bits] to me at Guil[d]f[or]d. who knew nothing what I did with them.

Mr St Andre tooke a piece the first time he toutched me. then the head and skin. the skin came first. Mr Mollyn[eux] toutched me before the head came away and not after.

FOOTNOTES

[1] This is entered in the fair copy and then heavily scored through.

[2] The fair copy clarifies the sense of this: ”For a fortnight after Mr. Howard came to me, something was still coming away and I in pain all that time …”

[3] The fair copy reads, “A fortnight after that …”

[4] These four paragraphs following the asterisk are appended on a separate

page.

[5] The fair copy reads, “… which made me affrayed that he should see what I had in my pockets.”

[6] The fair copy retains part of this: “After this they left me till the evening, but when they came back, they did nothing.”

[7] The fair copy retains part of this deletion: “After Mr. Ahlers had put me to a violent deal of pain he delivered me of the Loins and some other parts which I cannot well remember; and Mr. Howard tooke away the pieces in his presence. I remember very well that Mr. Ahlers said he was Satisfy’ d, and gave me a Guinea, promising to get me a Pension.”

[8] The fair copy ends here.

[9] The following three paragraphs, keyed to the last sentence, are written on the back of the previous page. Evidently, Mary Toft was pointedly questioned at this moment to establish who was responsible for the fraud; once the information was elicited from her, Douglas wrote the first two paragraphs at the bottom of the page. Presumably at a time when he had more leisure–for the handwriting becomes much more legible–he re-wrote and expanded these two paragraphs in a third paragraph which he wrote at the top of the page.

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